As if to underscore his media ambitions in what many believe will become the planet’s largest market within the next decade, the Australian-American media mogul has pledged an undisclosed sum to fund the Rupert Murdoch chair in communications at University of Tsinghua – China’s equivalent to Harvard, the Sorbonne or Cambridge.

The sponsorship is the latest in a line of sweeteners designed to soften the hearts of the Chinese leadership – the acceptable face of neo-communism behind which lies a huge and unexploited commercial media market.

It is not known if the yet-to-be-named occupant of the Murdoch chair will advise his students to sing from the same hymn-sheet as do the mogul’s 175 newspaper editors dotted around three continents – a happy band which displays remarkable unanimity of thought with its master on almost every subject – especially those of international importance such as the war on Iraq.

According to a Bloomberg-sourced report (published in Saturday’s The Straits Times), no less an authority than CNN-founder Ted Turner told a conference in San Francisco on Thursday: “I call it Murdoch’s War.” Turner contended that he magnate had promoted the Iraq war because “it's good for his newspapers and good for his television stations”.

It seems that Murdoch’s devotion to charitable causes will not harm his ambitions either in this world or the next. According to UK newspaper website MediaGuardian, the tycoon donated $10m in 1999 to a Roman Catholic cathedral then under construction in Los Angeles. Although he is not a Catholic, the donation earned him eligibility for burial in the cathedral’s crypt.

Data sourced from: Multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff